Costa Careyes, on the coast between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, reflects the whims of its 85-year-old Italian
founder, Gian Franco Brignone, a onetime banker, who bought the land in 1968 and began inviting his jet-set friends
soon after. Brignone has since built Careyes into a glamorous residential community and resort with accommodations
ranging from cozy beach bungalows to “castles,” like the six-bedroom, sunshine-tangerine
Casa Dos Estrellas owned by James Bond Girl Luciana Paluzzi
and her husband Media mogul former President of Warner Brothers International and founder of
Truli.net Michael Jay Solomon.
There’s also a small hotel, a contemporary art gallery, a polo club, four restaurants, and 8 glorious miles of coastline.
But even as it’s grown, and attracted guests like Bill and Melinda Gates, Robert DeNiro, Quentin
Tarantino, Usher, Barbra Streisand, Giorgio Armani, Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran just to name a few, it’s held on to its bohemian sensibility. Here, no one seems to
worry about business plans, branding strategies, or market positioning.
Homeowners such as Seal, who married Heidi Klum here, must meet 27 conditions, such as appreciating the “music of sky,
earth, and sea,” being multilingual, and, my favorite, having committed most of the seven deadly sins. They also need
several million dollars.
If they pass muster, they can buy a home built into the cliffs with open-air rooms, cinematic views, and quirky
details. The rental villas can be quirky, too—think erotic paintings, cushions strewn everywhere, and strategically
sited beds. That frank libidinousness may explain why Patrick Demarchelier photographed Christie Brinkley
in a pool, Bruce Weber shot the CK Obsession campaign, and Cindy Crawford posed nude for Herb Ritts here.
Despite all the glam, Careyes isn’t clubby. Strangers say hello at dinner. A Brazilian family greets me effusively
every time I see them, language barrier be damned, and everyone cheers for the Canadian kids staging an impromptu performance on the lit-up dance floor. It really does feel like a big, sandy dinner party.